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Types of play – associative

A group of two and three year olds are playing at an activity table outside in the nursery garden. They are playing with sand, water, sticks and toy tea sets. The practitioner is at the table with them.

Good for looking at

  • Types of play - associative
  • Learning outdoors
  • Messy play
  • Water play
  • Sand play
  • Materials
  • Effective adult support


  • What cues can you see that show what the children are interested in? (Look out for non-verbal and body language as well as spoken language)
  • How are the children learning?
  • Which areas of play, development, engagement and characteristics of learning can you observe?
  • In what ways does the adult support the children’s learning?
  • How do the materials provided support the children’s learning?